- January 2012
The Arch Cubes is a special type of bandaged puzzle (bandaging is a term used when pieces of a puzzle are joined together), that only works because of the four arches that have been implemented on four faces of puzzle’s faces. The arches allow the faces of the puzzle to seemingly twist through each other when positioned correctly; a type of movement not too common in puzzles.
I had the idea for this puzzle in early December 2011. I cannot remember my exact thoughts at the time; however I had previously toyed with the idea of joining two puzzles together in a non-functional manner (stacking two 3x3 cubes on top of each other in a 3x6 formation always came to mind) and then somehow making them functional. The Carousel Cube by Aleh Hladzilin vaguely inspired the arched elements of the puzzle.
Originally I had planned for there to be four arches per cube, however while making the prototype I decided to revise the design and chose to reduce the number of Arches to two per cube. This was done for two reasons; I felt that if there were arches on the top faces the puzzle would look ugly and in my opinion incomplete. Also, with two arches, the puzzle becomes considerably harder to solve, therefore it maked perfect sense to opt for the alternate design.
The puzzle was relatively straight forward to make; I thought of a theorised building method shortly after devising the design. Arches were marked out across the three required pieces (left corner, middle edge, right corner) using a protractor and then carved out using a Dremel (rotary sanding tool). This process was repeated four times.
Carving out the arches exposed a hollow portion on each piece; this was filled using epoxy sculpt and sanded for a nice rounded finish. The two puzzles were then fused together along three pieces common to both cubes; lower edge, centre piece, upper edge.
The stickers were cut by hand from sheets of adhesive vinyl using; a steel rule, craft knife and protractor. I applied a small amount of superglue to the stickers on the arches just to ensure they stayed in place.
This puzzle is one of my favourite builds to date; it was enjoyable to make and employed some of the more interesting techniques used to make puzzles. I think it has wonderful aesthetics, with the arches being prominent and a striking element of the puzzle. It also provides an interesting solving challenge in the way of limited movement, which causes a user to refine their solving tactics to fit the new cause.
In October 2012, I revisited this puzzle, as I felt that the stickers I had made originally could be much improved. Back in January of 2012, I made the stickers by hand, and although they were neat and well cut, I didn't finish them to the standard I work at now with puzzles I cut stickers for. I could easily have made new stickers by hand, however since starting my new job I have access to a vinyl plotter and relivent software, so designing and machine cutting the stickers made more sense. The new stickers are far better than my previous attempt; primarily becuase they machine cut and therefore significantly more accurate, but elements such as rounded corner give a far more professional finish.
"Thats clever! I like it."
"Very nice, both in concept and execution.”
"That is really clever!”
"The simplicity is genious!”
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